An Introduction to Fantasy Football Part III:

There are many fantasy football providers online. I'll run down the most reputable and popular.

  1. Yahoo.com:
    Yahoo! is one of the last websites that provide a free league to people. For beginners, I definitely recommend it. It's free so there's not a whole lot of risk in playing and you can sit back and enjoy it. It has a simple format, and its drafting system and leagues are very easy to navigate through. You can either start your own league, join a custom league if you know the password to a certain league, or join any public league. Yahoo also allows a lot of flexibility for the commissioners when deciding league settings so pay attention to that when joining a league. It has live draft and autopick options depending on your desired participation. You can join a maximum of 4 free leagues, but after that you are being greedy anyways. A great way to introduce new players without emptying the pockets, Yahoo also has a pay option that subscribers can get some additional features and the chance to win some prizes.

  2. NFL.com:
    This website used to be free and you will now have to pay some money to play it. Its still one of the cheaper leagues, however. It's affiliated with Sportsline.com which has taken over the fantasy services more and more. You have the option of the commissioner league where only people you invite can be in the league can you determine many of the settings. Two years ago, that was free, but you must pay for that option as well. With NFL.com and sportsline.com, you can also own individual teams and compete with people all over the country. The more you are willing to pay for your team, the more you can win, whether its prizes or money. I was in a league last year with Sportsline and had numerous problems with the draft, scoring and the playoffs. Overall, it's a pretty strong site, but I am still a little annoyed at the problems my friends and I encountered after paying so much money.

  3. ESPN.com:
    Another good league provider. You have to pay for a team and for the first time you have the option of doing the league manager in which you run your own league with your friends. A good scoring system and easy to understand format, it does offer less options than the yahoo leagues which can be a good thing or a bad thing. ESPN also offers a free league in a salary cap format. A great site, that also provides a lot of information to fantasy players. The pay leagues will net you a pretty cool t-shirt to show off for winning the league, and even more for having one of the best teams overall.

  4. Foxsports.com:
    A year ago, I would have told you to stay away from this site. I joined it as a pay site and the league was difficult to navigate through, the league website was unnecessarily complex, and it just wasn't any fun. Fortunately, they combined with The Sporting News to provide fantasy football. You have the option of running your own league or just a team, depending on how much you are willing to pay of course. SportingNews.com gives you option of a draft format or a salary cap format for a fee in which you can win prizes or a free salary cap format in which the overall winners have a chance to win some prizes

  5. Sandbox.com:
    I have never played this league, but it's another pay to play league and was voted "Best of the Web" for fantasy sports by Forbes magazine. Whether that sways your decision I don't know.

    There are a plethora of fantasy football websites out there that you can choose, but these are the major ones in my opinion. Choosing one is a matter of taste.

    One last note, one of the best things you can do for yourself is spend $6-7 dollars and pick up a fantasy football magazine. It helps you know all the players and how valuable they are. And it saves you the embarrassment of drafting Steve McNair or Tony Gonzalez #1 overall.

    I hope you'll join this site and read my weekly column that will be available to subscibers only. During the regular season I will provide weekly injury reports and match ups I feel are best to take advantage of and avoid. Until then I will comment on a variety of issues pertaining to fantasy football. Don't want to become a member? Well not to worry I haven't forgottn about you and will randomly select three - five e-mails each week to answer in our free area. I can be reached at bills_report@yahoo.com, please send only one question per person to make things fair for everybody. Next week's topic will be draft strategies, e-mail me with your questions. Again I will be picking questions at random don't get upset if your question is not answered. The deadline for e-mailing questions is Thursday, July 31. I will post my members only article on Fridays and answered questions on Saturday.

    Until next time, may the player you select be Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins and not Ricky Williams, RB, Colts.

    If you missed them click the following links to Part I and Part II of this III Part series.

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